Seabury Hall Girls Track Team Enjoying Its Success
By Rodney S. Yap
The months have turned into weeks and now the dream of winning the Maui Interscholastic League’s first state track and field championship in the girls division is 28 days away.
Big goal for a small school like Seabury Hall.
Seabury Hall . . . what? From what island, where?
“Every where we go, people ask where are we from,” said Bobby Grossman, the Spartans’ girls head coach. “It’s no longer about one athlete. Its about the team now.”
The Olinda-based private school has outgrown its reputation for being a cross-country and volleyball-only program. Now they win in paddling, basketball, soccer and most recently track and field — Girls Track and Field!
Seabury made the most noise it has made all year, on Friday, April 12, at the Honolulu Marathon Invitational, where its six-member team — all underclassmen — rolled over 23 other schools, including defending state champion Punahou en route to the girls team title.
The Spartans scored 74 points in eight events, eight more than runner-up Punahou’s 66. Iolani was third with 56, followed by Pearl City’s 55 and Kamehameha Schools Kapalama’s 34. The one-day only meet was held at Mililani High School, host of the 2013 Island Movers State Track and Field Championships, May 11-12.
Punahou is the primary reason no MIL team has yet to win the girls crown. The Buffanblu have seven of the last eight team titles, 13 of the last 16, and 33 since the meet started 45 years ago. The last non-ILH school to win a girls title was 16 years ago.
“We have a month to go and we still have to put it together,” said Grossman, the architect behind the 2013 blueprint, which will include a stop at HPA for Big Island Track Meet #3 on Saturday, April 20.
“I’m glad we are part of the conversation. When we were over there people were talking about us and now we’re going to the Big Island and they are excited about us coming, so it’s going to be fun,” said Grossman. “We’re enjoying the ride, because when its over, its over.”
Seabury continued to climb the progression chart — as all six participants established a personal record in at least one event — ultimately strengthening its hope of bringing home a state track championship.
Sprinter Alyssa Bettendorf and distance ace Dakota Grossman are the Yin-Yang of the team. The two are also best friends and classmates. Bettendorf the wide-eyed rookie, Grossman the seasoned veteran. The pair, along with hurdler Christy Fell and sophomore Kiana Smith capped the meet with a 4 x 400 victory and the school’s second best all-time mark in 4 minutes, 4.86 seconds. Bettendorf anchored the race with a blistering 58.5 split.
Coach Grossman was especially pleased with the way Bettendorf has embraced her updated status as one of the state’s premiere female prep sprinters.
“For her first experience from a year ago, and now all of a sudden she is actually running with the fastest girls in the state, she competed very well.
“I told her that winning wasn’t the main thing, just competing with them was more important. I’m happy with her progress. We will continue to work on her start.”
Pearl City’s Diamond Briscoe relied on her superior start to beat Bettendorf in the 100-meter dash, 12.43 to 12.46. Bettendorf turned the tables on the junior Charger in the 200, winning in 25.15 to Briscoe’s 25.32. The state meet record in the 200 is 25.04, set in 2002 by Iolani’s Lauran Dignam.
Bettendorf led a 1-2 finish in the 400 (58.90) as freshman Ally Smith was nipping at her heels in 59.68 (PR).
Grossman said Bettendorf survived several, “I can’t believe I’m here” moments, thanks to Dakota’s chop-busting one-liners that routinely settles Bettendorf’s nerves.
“She appreciates where she is now, because she’s never been the star.”
* Freshman Smith was also fourth in the 800 (2:23.80).
* Junior Christy Fell ran a PR in the 300 hurdles (48.90) and finished fourth. She was also 7th in the 100 hurdles (16.27) and 7th in the triple jump (33-0.5).
* 6-foot freshman Amy Ozee PR’d in the high jump, placing third in 4 feet, 10 inches.
“She could be a huge difference for us,” Grossman said of Ozee. “I didn’t expect any points from her.”
* Junior Dakota Grossman did not run the 3,000, but she did win the 800 with a PR of 2:21.85. She was second to Punahou’s Eli Brady in the 1,500, running a season best 4:47.19.
“She tried to stay with her (Brady) but she didn’t have that kick like she did when she raced Zoe (Sims of HPA) a couple of weeks ago. After the race was over Dakota’s legs were dead,” the older Grossman said.
In other girls highlights from Friday, April 12:
* Baldwin’s Amber Kozaki won the long jump (16-10.25) at the Honolulu Marathon Invitational and was second in the pole vault at 12 feet to due misses.
* Maui High’s Christina Lotulelei won the girls ring events with season bests in the shot put (39-9) and the discus (135-02).
* Lunas Kailey Sager won the 1,500 (5:36.33) and 3,000 (12:43.80).
* Kamehameha Maui’s Raven Poepoe clocked a season best 49.18 in winning the 300 hurdles and runner-up Breea Yamat of Lahainaluna also ran a season best 50.39.